1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 15 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, bring brown sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 236° (soft ball stage). Remove sugar mixture from heat.
3. Let sugar mixture stand until candy thermometer reaches 150° (20 to 25 minutes). Stir in vanilla and pecans using a wooden spoon; stir constantly 1 to 2 minutes or just until mixture begins to lose its gloss. Quickly drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax paper; let stand until firm (10 to 15 minutes).
TRY THESE TWISTS!
Chocolate-Pecan Pralines: Prepare as directed through Step 2. Add 2 (1-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking squares to sugar mixture. (Do not stir.) Proceed as directed in Step 3.
Café au Lait Pecan Pralines: Add 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules with brown sugar in Step 2.
Bourbon-Pecan Pralines: Add 1/4 cup bourbon with brown sugar in Step 2.